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The World Comes to Cookeville

April 9, 2010

A wise man once told me that it’s much easier to sell people something “they think they want” than something “you think they need.” That dictum is especially apropos to the task of global affairs awareness – teaching people about the world. We are a nation awash in information resources that offer an endless stream of raw data, context and analyses of the world around us but most Americans are content to leave understanding foreign affairs, our interests abroad and international things to someone else.

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Stop the Clock

April 2, 2010

The “Doomsday Clock” is not really a timepiece. It is a metaphor marking civilization’s proximity to a self-induced conclusion adopted by scientists at the dawn of the Cold War. In 1947 the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the clock’s makers, set the time at 11:53 p.m., reflecting the danger of nuclear weapons, the sole province, at the time, of the United States. By 1953 with the introduction of an atomic bomb by the Soviet Union and testing of more powerful thermonuclear weapons by both America and Russia, the clock nudged to just two minutes away from humanity’s midnight.

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Israeli Housing Settlements Trump Peace Settlements

March 12, 2010

by Pat Ryan If you think the two-state solution is the annual meeting between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Florida Gators on the gridiron or that a settlement is something a Tiger Woods mistress is seeking then you should read on. This week your Vice President was in Israel to talk about America’s relationship with […]

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International Security Policy Isn’t That Tough, Just Ask Yogi

March 7, 2010

by Pat Ryan The wit, wisdom and good humor of that great American philosopher Yogi Berra may be the last refuge of a columnist under tight deadline but there’s a strange resonance in what the hall of fame baseball player, coach and manager had to say when it comes to international relations. In particular I’m […]

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Cold War on Ice

February 21, 2010

by Pat Ryan Are you getting tired of the long, cold winter around here? Just consider the long, cold winter it’s going to be for the 2010 Russian Olympic officials who can hear the wolves back home howling for their skins. After just five days into the Vancouver games the once fearsome Olympic medal machine […]

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Closing in on Midnight With Iran

February 12, 2010

by Pat Ryan Like most things in the Middle East the impending train wreck in the Persian Gulf that is America’s confrontation with Iran is complicated. It is one more scenario where there are innumerable consequences to American action, or inaction, against a gathering threat. It is a story that fans of Jack Bauer and […]

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Connecting the dots of America’s well-being

February 5, 2010

by Pat Ryan “Certain” was certainly an unambiguous answer to a question, about the likelihood the United States would be attacked in the next six months, put to Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair in testimony before the U.S. Senate this week. “Al Qaeda,” he said of the group that killed over 3000 Americans on […]

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Now in Cookeville

January 22, 2010

by Pat Ryan “How did this happen in Cookeville?” was the question I was asked in both Nashville and Knoxville when, almost three years ago, I described the newly founded Tennessee World Affairs Council to university professors and civic leaders in those cities. I was on the road building relationships with institutions that would partner […]

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Helping the Helpless in Haiti

January 15, 2010

by Pat Ryan The pictures are hard to look at, the stories are hard to listen to and the magnitude of what has befallen the people of Haiti is hard to comprehend. In less than two minutes the earth dealt out an extremely violent spasm of death and destruction near the middle of a poverty […]

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Resolutions Past, Present and Future

January 8, 2010

By Pat Ryan There’s no better place to start writing a column on international affairs than parked in front of Cookeville’s South Jefferson Avenue WalMart Supercenter, that bastion of global commerce, waiting for my family to finish their shopping. Did you know that Business Week magazine said if WalMart was a country it would be […]

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